• synonyms


[nach-er-uh-lahyz, nach-ruh-]
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verb (used with object), nat·u·ral·ized, nat·u·ral·iz·ing.
  1. to confer upon (an alien) the rights and privileges of a citizen.
  2. to introduce (organisms) into a region and cause them to flourish as if native.
  3. to introduce or adopt (foreign practices, words, etc.) into a country or into general use: to naturalize a French phrase.
  4. to bring into conformity with nature.
  5. to regard or explain as natural rather than supernatural: to naturalize miracles.
  6. to adapt or accustom to a place or to new surroundings.
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verb (used without object), nat·u·ral·ized, nat·u·ral·iz·ing.
  1. to become naturalized.
  2. to adapt as if native to a new environment, set of circumstances, etc.
  3. to study or carry on research in natural history.
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Also especially British, nat·u·ral·ise.

Origin of naturalize

First recorded in 1585–95; natural + -ize
Related formsnat·u·ral·i·za·tion, nounnat·u·ral·iz·er, nounun·nat·u·ral·ize, verb (used with object), un·nat·u·ral·ized, un·nat·u·ral·iz·ing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for naturalize

familiarize, accustom, adopt, acclimate, adapt, conform, acclimatize

Examples from the Web for naturalize

Historical Examples of naturalize

  • Seemingly there was an attempt to naturalize "all Greece and Rome."

    Early Theories of Translation

    Flora Ross Amos

  • A bill to naturalize the Prince was, of course, indispensable.

  • In like manner the attempt to naturalize avant-courier in the shape of vancurrier has failed.

    English Past and Present

    Richard Chevenix Trench

  • The attempt to naturalize them in France, or any Continental nation, he regards as mischievous quackery.

  • There are certain grasses that will naturalize themselves there—for instance, clover, blue-joint, and timothy.

    Through Glacier Park

    Mary Roberts Rinehart

British Dictionary definitions for naturalize



  1. (tr) to give citizenship to (a person of foreign birth)
  2. to be or cause to be adopted in another place, as a word, custom, etc
  3. (tr) to introduce (a plant or animal from another region) and cause it to adapt to local conditions
  4. (intr) (of a plant or animal) to adapt successfully to a foreign environment and spread there
  5. (tr) to explain (something unusual) with reference to nature, excluding the supernatural
  6. (tr) to make natural or more lifelike
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Derived Formsnaturalization or naturalisation, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for naturalize


"admit (an alien) to rights of a citizen," 1550s (implied in naturalized), from natural (adj.) in its etymological sense of "by birth" + -ize; in some instances from Middle French naturaliser, from natural. Of things, from 1620s; of plants or animals, from 1796. Related: Naturalizing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

naturalize in Science


  1. To establish a nonnative species in a region where it is able to reproduce successfully and live alongside native species in the wild. Naturalized species may be introduced intentionally or unintentionally. Eucalyptus trees are native to Australia but have become naturalized in many other parts of the world.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.